Floyd, 46, died in Minneapolis last week (May 25) following an altercation with police officers. Floyd, who was African American, was killed when a white police officer appeared to kneel on his neck as he lay on the ground during an arrest.
Officer Derek Chauvin has since been sacked and charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. Three of his colleagues, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J Alexander Keung are now all facing charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder, and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
The open letter was launched by Patrisse Cullors, one of the co-founders of Black Lives Matter and a founding member of the Movement 4 Black Lives (M4BL) and calls for local officials to cut police spending and budgets and instead increase spending on health care, education and community programmes.
“The time has come to defund the police,” the letter states. It continues: “Policing and militarization overwhelmingly dominate the bulk of national and local budgets…We call for defunding of police and for those dollars to be rerouted to create a public national healthcare system.”
You can read the letter in full here.
It comes as protests across the US and the world continue in the wake of Floyd’s death. Yesterday (June 3), John Boyega delivered an emotive speech to a huge crowd at a Black Lives Matter protest in central London.
The Evening Standard reported that thousands of people were in attendance at the event which began in Hyde Park; many could be heard chanting George Floyd’s name while hundreds carried signs bearing his name.
In a video of Boyega’s speech that was filmed and shared by CBS News’ Haley Ott, Boyega can be heard telling the crowd: “Black lives have always mattered. We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless. And now is the time. I ain’t waiting.”
Speaking to the Standard, organiser Naomi Smith said: “It’s important that we do this in London to show solidarity. We will keep to the social distance rules and this is a peaceful demonstration.”
A large number of names from across the worlds of music and entertainment have publicly called for justice for George Floyd following his death, including Killer Mike, Beyonce, Ice Cube, Janelle Monae, Billie Eilish, Jay-Z, Adele and Travis Scott.